WASHINGTON -- The Weekly Standard put up a blog post on Thursday questioning why, at a time when the White House was pushing for humility following Osama bin Laden's death, the website gutsycall.com was suddenly redirecting to the president’s campaign site.
The post, which speculated that the page was created by the president’s “campaign team (or some of his ardent supporters),” got a link on the Drudge Report, from which it, naturally, drew many more eyeballs.
There was one hitch. The Democratic National Committee insists the website wasn’t created by its team, or the Obama campaign apparatus. A DNC official told The Huffington Post that neither entity bought the URL in question, nor do they have a clue -- as of Friday morning, at least -- who did.
The creator of the website, indeed, appears to have cloaked the registration details, making him or her completely anonymous. The server is located in Scottsdale, Arizona (which says little about the website itself) and was purchased from GoDaddy.com.
The misinformation (if, in fact, this isn’t a DNC site) may seem like small potatoes, far overshadowed by the news of bin Laden’s death. But the DNC took the incident seriously enough to push back forcefully on Friday, not only denying any connection to the provenance of the URL but also purchasing a URL of its own -- www.weeklyNOstandards.com -- to redirect to the Weekly Standard’s homepage.
The response's purpose is twofold, said the committee official: to demonstrate just how simple it is to purchase a website that redirects to another (while taking a swipe at the magazine in the process) and to nip the story in the bud before it gets absorbed by a broader audience.
“There are serious issues that we should be focusing on right now including the Republican proposal to end Medicare as we know it. So the sooner we can kill off these kinds of distractions that some prefer to trade in, the better,” said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan.
In the fast-paced world of online news, however, the response may already be too late. The Weekly Standard post was put up by Daniel Halper at 4:36 p.m. on Thursday. The DNC says it was not contacted beforehand and Halper did not return a request for comment once told that the Huffington Post would be covering the incident.
The DNC was only informed around midnight after responding to last night's South Carolina GOP presidential debate. After consulting with its new-media team, the DNC decided to go forward with the aggressive pushback Friday morning. By then, however, insinuation that gutsycall.com had been orchestrated by the DNC had been picked up by Drudge and a host of other conservative websites.
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